Hardcore divers know the one downside of their passion for the sport: the need to lug around all that expensive – and often fragile – equipment everywhere they go. But they’re also always in the mood to go to a new site and won’t let their heavy gear stop them from going anywhere.
Use these five tips to make traveling with your scuba gear as smooth as possible the next time you take a trip.
1. Travel light
One of the best ways to ease your burden when traveling with scuba gear is to simply take less stuff with you. Sure, you might want to take every single scuba item you own on your trip, but do you really need to? For instance, you’re probably better off leaving your tank behind, as most divers do, or ship it to your destination ahead of time.
Before you go, check the inventory at local scuba rental shops. It may make more sense for cost and convenience sake to rent some gear at your dive location.
2. Keep airport screening in mind while packing
As you’re separating the gear you want to take with you, make it easy on the screeners at the airport, so you can get through the security line quickly. The Transportation Security Administration website notes that items like regulators, buoyancy compensators, masks, snorkels, and fins can all be packed in carry-on bags. Some larger items, though, and potentially dangerous items – like spear guns, tools, and knives – need to go in your checked bags.
3. Treat your gear with special care
The TSA suggests sheathing and wrapping sharp objects in your checked bags, both for the safety of your other gear and for the safety of baggage handlers and security officers. But keep your most precious items – such as masks that have a prescription and your dive computer – close to you at all times, in carry-on bags. There’s always a risk that your checked bags could get lost or wrecked, so pack only those items that you can live without or at least rent if you have to when you get to your destination.
4. Look for cost savings while traveling
When you plan ahead, you can find ways to trim some of your travel expenses. Avoid surprises at the airport by seeing if your airline will charge you for extra bags or weight (another reason to leave some of your gear behind). Some airlines will actually charge another fee specifically for scuba gear.
If you just can’t leave your equipment at home, make up for the extra charges by using an airline-specific rewards card that features discounts on extra checked bags. If you’re a frequent traveler, this is a great way to earn points or miles to offset some of the cost of future trips.
5. Protect yourself
If you have a dive bag, cover the logos to avoid tempting possible thieves, check that all the zippers are working, and lock it up. Also consider looking into getting an insurance policy – you’ve invested so money into this expensive hobby, you don’t want to have to start from scratch if all your equipment gets swiped.
These five tips should make it easier for your travel with scuba gear as safe and painless as possible – and may help you realize cost savings as well. Follow them, and you’ll get to your dive destination with all your gear intact and ready to go.